Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?

Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? I am no doubt misquoting Benjamin Franklin slightly but hope he wouldn't mind. There are lots of things that we have to get done in our daily lives from the mundane such as washing up and the more important such as ensuring our car insurance is up to date. Just think about all those ads on the TV telling us how we can get ourselves a bargain in terms of our utility costs and insurances and the thrust of the message is don't delay do it today.

Oh, but what about Wills?

Somehow for many of us Wills always seem to be on an invisible 'to do' list. Somehow there never seems to be the time to sort them out and that 'to do' list always gets buried under the 'what do we need from the supermarket?' list - presumably this accounts for its invisibility.

I am not sure why this should be the case but guess that there could be a perception that getting a Will in place can take time out of our busy lives or maybe that it will be an expensive or complicated process.

I tend to focus on people who don't have Wills but sometimes, even if you have a Will, it is important to make sure that any change of circumstances that could affect how you wish to leave your estate is reflected sooner rather than later.

Take Mr and Mrs Bailey for example; a loving married couple who had no children and over many years had built up quite a significant asset base worth approximately £1.7m. They loved each other and clearly loved their respective families. They had sensibly made Wills that left everything to each other on the death of the first of them. Nothing untoward about that except that, as they got older they started to think about what should happen to their estate after the survivor of them had died as their Wills made no provision for this. The couple therefore accepted that the survivor of them would need to make a new Will.

To that end they had started to jot down to whom they wished to leave various assets and while this was indicative of what they wanted to achieve, unlike a Will, it was not binding on anyone. After the death of Mrs Bailey her husband duly visited a solicitor to make a new Will. However, despite this having been drafted for him by the solicitor he never got round to signing it.

Mr and Mrs Bailey sadly died in quick succession and as a result of a dispute about what the couple had wished to achieve with their estates matters ended up in Court.

The difficulty was that because they had left everything to each other and given no instructions in their Wills for what should happen after both deaths Mr Bailey's estate, as the survivor of the two, would pass under the intestacy rules. This meant that Mrs Bailey's family failed to benefit in the manner that both Mr and Mrs Bailey might have wished and it was only Mr Bailey's family who benefited. Had the new Will been signed there would have been no need for Court proceedings and the wishes of the couple would have been followed.

While Wills deal with what happens after our deaths they are living documents in the sense that they should reflect the changes that occur in our lives. It is therefore extremely important to regularly review any existing Wills to ensure that they still leave your estate as you would wish. In the event that when reviewing your Will you feel that changes are necessary due to a change in circumstances then don't delay seeking advice about updating your Will.

We here at The Law Hut would be delighted to assist you with either making a new Will, or updating an existing one. For simple Wills we charge £125 for a single Will and £180 for mirror Wills for a couple (no VAT). We work around your timetable and at your convenience so that the whole process is stress free and Legalese is not spoken here. If you would like to chat to us please feel free to contact us at any time: michael@thelawhut.co.uk or on 07827 779255.

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